After getting off to a slow start Saturday night, the top-ranked Gators baseball team kicked it into high gear in front of a packed house to beat the eighth-ranked Miami Hurricanes for the second night in a row and clinched the series, 13-5.
Florida provided the fans with plenty to talk about as they got their seventh-straight win with a season-high 16 hits to post their tenth-consecutive victory over UM. It was also the tenth-largest crowd in stadium history, and the highest recorded attendance since an April 1999 contest against Florida State (5,063).
It was a slow first three innings for the Gators as the 4,999 in attendance watched Canes senior Peter O’Brien start the game off with a two-run homerun in the first, then follow-up with a two-out RBI single in the bottom of the third to put Miami in the lead 3-0.
The Canes didn’t hold the lead for long as Miami pitcher Eric Whaley gave up back-to-back homeruns in the fourth inning to Gators junior Brian Johnson and freshman Taylor Gushue to tie the game up 3-3.
Canes’ junior Stephen Perez responded with a two-run homer of his own to put the Hurricanes back on top 5-3 in the bottom of the fourth. Unfortunately for Miami, that was the last RBI they would see for the rest of the night.
Gushue contributed once more for the Gators as he hit a three-run bomb towards right field and regained the lead for Florida 8-5.
The Gators tacked on five more runs as disappointed Miami fans trickled out of the stadium after each inning. The remaining fans watched the Gators clinch the series with a 13-5 win.
Senior Daniel Pigott (4-for-5, two runs), Johnson (4-for-5, 5 RBI) and Gushue (3-for-4, 4 RBI) led the way offensively for Florida, while O’Brien (2-for-4, 3 RBI) and Perez (2-for-4, 2 RBI) carried the Canes in the first three innings.
The Hurricanes were shut down by Florida senior reliever Greg Larson, who came in for Brian Johnson. Larson retired all fourteen batters and struck out four in a career-high 4.2 innings, earning him his first win of the year.
The two teams are on the mound Sunday to complete the three game series at Alex Rodriguez Park, with the first pitch set for 1:00 p.m. Of course you can catch all the action right here on WRUF Sportsradio 850 starting at 12:55 PM.